Monday, June 06, 2005

Having Worked in a Gay Bar: The Essentials

I was really stretching for a new subject to talk about today. I've recently come across a few blogs, and I'm starting to read them regularly. They've added a new perspective to my blog-reading experience, since I probably read about 200 - 300% more than I post. Let me tell you, it's a lot of reading, and I'm not sure people notice. I, personally, find it very refreshing, particularly when you come across someone with a flare for making me laugh at 7 am -- no easy task since I'm physically awake while my mind continues to sleep until 8 or so. The following is a series of distinctions one may make between a Gay and a Straight bar, and just gay terms generally, but I like the idea that I harnessed SOME education from working at a gay bar, even if for only a short time. Again this is an overview and not a comprehensive elaboration. I hesitate to even attempt to write about all the variants out there ... due to no better legal pun, it'd be impossible to produce and refine such a volumnious document. I started off barbacking on the weekends and tending on Tues/Weds nights while going to law school...

The Drinks. One of the best things I took away from bartending generally, is the ability to make superior mixed drinks. My bar didn't have beer on tap. I almost DIED when I found out, as a barback I was psyched not to have to move the kegs, but seriously, tapping a keg was the ONE thing I knew coming into the whole mess. Anyways, we still had beer, you just had to order bottlenecks, with fun twist-off caps that tore up wet fingers (washing dishes AND serving ALWAYS sucks). I am now the best chocolate macaroon and cosmo mixer I know, and I make a very delicious, very inebriating key lime pie. I learned the Cosmo from the one woman who worked there, and she was a little stingy with her recipe, but we worked it out eventually. If she wasn't working, people would ask for me to make them.

The Shots. The other thing you got good at, and fast, were shots. Everyone orders shots, and they had to be done quickly. I used to keep vodka and tequila on ice just for shot making. Of course we all learned the red headed sluts, the italian surfer, the b52, but my favorite was the dreamsicle (orange and vanilla), plus I also made the chocolate macaroon a shot.

Boi. An interesting aspect of working in a bar generally, but at a gay bar specifically, is the lingo you hear. Boi, for instance, is a usually what you heard coaches calling you middle school, "Boi, what are you doing ... I said CATCH the ball. Now go do a lap." They never knew our names, and apparently that carries over to our lives in adulthood. Usually if you hear someone addressed as boi, the 'i' spelling apparently being the gay man's preference as witnessed on any gay personal or chat site, it is not necessarily a good thing. In my experience it is supposed to impart inferiority and usually associated with submissive men. I've seen 6'5 marines called boi at my counter, and they didn't even blink, as their 'partner' comes over. I'm sure they enjoy that kind of play, but I don't appreciate being called boi, and it only happened once. My regulars were out of town for the white party, and a mixed crowd was in there. We were pretty busy and some guy kept shouting for my attention. He left and came back, grabbed my attention and said,"Boi, when I want a drink I expect you to resond. You got that boi?" I gave the guy a level look, "You call me boi one more time and you won't drink here again. I'll serve you when you learn my name and use it." My boss was with my in the Pit and just started LAUGHING ... me, I didn't think it was so funny. I did get a $40 tip and the guy knew my name and made sure everyone else in the place kenw my name before the night was over.

Using numbers and associations. Gay men love to use numbers, acronyms and close associations. For instance, straight is str8, later is l8r, talk to you later is ttyl etc. Most of this, I think, came from the chatting phenomenon in the late 80's early 90's. We except most of this as common language now, like lol and cya. Gay men have others, and I'm trying to think of the good ones: fish - women, breeders - straight people, homeowner - gay guy (homo-wner) -- I still can't listen to realestate commercials without getting a smile on my face, family - gay/lesbian, trader - straight man into getting favors for no reciprocation, dump - not even touching this one, my mom reads this for pete's sake! anyways, there's a few examples.

Girl. Actually, Big Girl is more appropriate. We had a very eclectic group, but they all used very similar lingo. We had regular martini glasses, and what I called the obscenely LARGE martini glass. They all laughed at me because I'd refuse to call it a Big Girl Glass, the whole Girl and Bitch thing just never worked for me. The cattiness between guys where they use the word bitch, not working for me. Unless you are using it in a derogatory way, like you are lower than snake shit. Then again, I've always appreciated more thoughtful and colorful language given my southern background. In any event, if someone wanted a big martini they'd ask for a big girl drink ... stereo types do, in fact, come from places of certainty, I can vouch for that :)

Meet Thor and Allthor. And by thor I mean tore, as in 'tore up.' This was common language used in the bar, usually behind someone's back. Tore usually meant,"wow, that person is trashy (dressed)." For guys that's pretty extreme, since gay men get away with enseble murder. Note to gay community: sometimes surprises are NICE, keep it wrapped up, but identifiable, for the bedroom. Alltore was usually Tore's buddy who was stoned or trashed. The two always went together, you could not have an alltore without a tore, and let's be honest, tore usually has an alltore in tow. If you ever hear people saying this at a party, and they are male, I'd assume they were gay and catty. It's just another way of point and saying,"oh my god can you believe what 'she's' wearing?!' and by she I mean gay-he.

Taking it slow. Wow, okay so this has been a surprise to most of my straight friends. Taking it slow in the regular world means not quite dating, not really committed, but seeing each other, seeing where things go. In the gay community, taking it slow is,"we aren't dating we are just doing each other." Often gay guys use this with their straight friends with the intent to give the illusion of morals. I'm doing my best to educate the straight community, but DAMN is it hard to explain sometimes. Most of my friends know at least, and you all know now. I don't use the phrase, as a traditionalist, which SEVERELY hinders my dating ability, wait ... I can't talk about this, parents may read it. Let's just say I follow the conservative approach to dating which frustrates most men. The gay community likes to take the traditional approach and turn it around, hedonists! Just PLEASE wear the condoms people ... no matter how you identify.

Hooking up. This phrase has SO evolved. I still assume, when I hear it, that it is touching and kissing, no penetration, no special accoutraments needed. Hmm, apparently I'm so outdated as to be draconian. I've come to the conclusion that hooking up is usually full on," We were together and we 'knew' each other." Meaning, in the biblical sense ... er ... I am NOT getting into the whole bible/non-missionary sex thing. In any case, I would hear people saying all the time," Oh now, don't go for that one, 'she's' dirty. She's hooked up with half the people in here." Grossness, even if it only meant kissing ... EWWWW.

I guess I'll tie off these ends here, casting my 'bitter end'. I hope this wasn't too graphic for my audience, but I figured ya;ll need a little change up since gym and school stuff is SO damn monotonous. Have a great week!


Listed on BlogShares